South Texas border county sees spike in COVID-19 cases after Halloween, election night


Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez leads a news conference on Monday, June 29, 2020, in Edinburg, Texas, where he assembled leaders of seven regional hospitals pleading for help with COVID-19 patients. (Border Report Photo/Sandra Sanchez)

EDINBURG, Texas (KVEO)—Hidalgo County officials announced there has been a spike in COVID-19 cases a little over two weeks after Halloween day and Election Day.

On Thursday, Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez, along with county officials, held a press conference and discussed the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the first two weeks of the month, the number of new COVID-19 positive cases were in the range of 200 and below.

Beginning this week, Hidalgo County officials saw those numbers jump from 426 on Monday to 681 on Tuesday, and to 679 Wednesday.

“Worse, as the nation passed the 250,000 mark for deaths, Hidalgo County has passed the 2,000 mark. That’s 2,000 of our family, friends and neighbors who have lost their lives to this terrible virus” said Cortez. “We saw videos on social media of local businesses holding Halloween gatherings that were packed with people not wearing masks.”

Cortez said that 70 percent of all new COVID-19 cases have occurred to individuals in their 40’s, and below.

People in their 20’s represent the largest increase at 20 percent of all new COVID-19 cases, according to Cortez.

Hidalgo County Local Health Authority Dr. Ivan Melendez, Health Human Services Chief Administrative Officer Eddie Olivarez

Health Human Services Chief Administrative Officer Eddie Olivarez says the county is working closely with Region 1 and superintendents for school districts in the county.

Olivarez says schools within the district will be using an antigen test for students and staff. Antigen tests can be used in a variety of testing strategies to respond to the coronavirus.

“As of this mornings, we had 325 confirmed students and staff in our Hidalgo County schools that have reported to us with official confirmation through the school districts” said Olivarez.

Hidalgo County UPDATE from November 19,2020

Olivarez added that vaccination, which is considered a preventive tool for the virus, will start taking place in December into January.

However, the state of Texas will determine who are the first ones that will get the vaccine. Most likely it will be targeted to essential personnel, such as first responders and the most vulnerable. In January and into February, the vaccine available to more people.

“Stay informed, stay aware and become knowledgeable on COVID-19. Please, from a medical perspective – this virus is in the community, so within four weeks if we don’t mitigate the disease we all know what can happen” said Hidalgo County Local Health Authority Dr. Ivan Melendez

As of Nov.19, Hidalgo County has a total of 39,366 positive COVID-19 cases and 2,022 COVID-19 related deaths.

Watch the complete press conference live here:

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